If you haven’t been paying attention, i.e. only watching the so-called “mainstream” media or getting your “news” from The Daily Show or late night comedians and talk show hosts, then the political events of today are probably confusing to you. For those of us who keep up with the actual news, and don’t buy into the Obama propaganda that the liberal media pushes, I think it’s safe to say the scandal going on right now in Washington may have the potential to topple this Presidency. If people thought Watergate was bad---this scandal is unbelievably worse.
At the heart of this scandal is a federal operation dubbed “Operation Fast and Furious.” This operation, run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE, a.k.a ATF), allowed weapons from the U.S. to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers---presumably so the arms could be traced to the higher echelons of Mexican drug cartels. However, many think that the ultimate reason for this ill-advised plan was to support the Obama administration’s goal to justify stricter gun control legislation to erode the 2ndAmendment. Even internal ATF emails seem to suggest that ATF agents were counseled to highlight links between criminals and certain semi-automatic weapons in order to bolster a case for new, stricter gun control measures. One such email states, “Can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same FFL and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks, Mark R. Chait, Assistant Director Field Operations."
Through Operation Fast and Furious the U.S. government put guns into the hands of murderous Mexican drug cartel members. Crimes were committed with those guns. As of October 2011, an undisclosed number of guns from this operation were found at 170 crime scenes! In fact, guns from this operation were discovered at the scene of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder in December 2010, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata was gunned down in February 2011 by weapons trafficked through this program, and an additional 57 Fast and Furious firearms were recovered at 11 other violent crime scenes in the American Southwest. Operation Fast and Furious came to a screeching halt in January 2011, and Republicans in Congress started asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) questions about this program.
In Attorney General Eric Holder’s original testimony to Congress in May 2011, he stated he had only just recently heard about Operation Fast and Furious “a few weeks” prior when program became public in the news. Yet shortly thereafter, journalists produced video of an interview with President Obama from early March to CNN Espanol in which Obama addressed the scandal and assured us that Holder knew nothing about it. In the same video, Obama claimed he didn’t know anything about this operation either until he heard it on the news.
This left a begging question: How would Obama know Holder knew nothing about Operation Fast and Furioussix weeks before Holder said he found out about it?
As Holder continued to testify to Congress on what he knew about Fast and Furious and when he knew it, his testimony increasingly contradicted itself and he was unable to remember key dates and facts. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has become more and more exasperated with Holder. Issa claims the DOJ has been withholding information on this case, and has repeatedly asked Eric Holder and the DOJ for documents which would make it crystal clear what Holder knew about Fast and Furious and when he knew it -- proving whether he lied under oath to Congress or not.
Today, moments before Issa and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was set to vote on holding Eric Holder in contempt for failing to hand over the documents in question, Obama asserted “executive privilege” to keep the Committee from obtaining the documents. Executive privilege is a claim by the President that he/she need not answer a request (including a subpoena issued by a court or Congress) for confidential government or personal communications, on the ground that such exposures would hamper effective governmental operations and decision-making for military, diplomatic, or national security purposes. Obama’s executive privilege seeks to block access to any documents dating prior to February 2011—coincidentally after the murders of the agents and when Fast and Furious already hit the media. The key information the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is seeking is to ascertain exactly what and when Holder and any other high level government officials knew about Operation Fast and Furious.
The question everyone is asking is: Why would Obama assert executive privilege about a program he claims he didn’t know anything about until he heard about it on the news?
Since only the president can invoke the privilege, he would have to be aware of the subject matter addressed in the subpoenaed documents. This means either Obama was involved in Operation Fast and Furious from the start and has been lying about what he knew regarding this program, that DoJ officials brought documents pertaining to an on-going criminal investigation to the White House, or White House advisors went to the DoJ to discuss documents pertaining to an on-going criminal investigation---the latter two would be unheard of.
This stinks of a high-level cover up and comparisons are already being made to Watergate and Richard Nixon. Executive privilege can be denied if there is a potential criminal charge, as Nixon discovered when he attempted to use executive privilege to deny Congress, the courts and the Department of Justice access to tapes and documents in the Watergate scandal (1973-1974).
Personally, I don’t think there is a fair comparison between Watergate and Operation Fast and Furious. Watergate was a presidential cover up of a botched break-in of a rival campaign headquarters. The Fast and the Furious scandal has resulted in multiple murders, including the killings of a US Border Patrol Agent and an ICE Agent. By invoking executive privilege, Obama has essentially revealed that he is involved in Fast and Furious somehow. For a person who claimed he was going to have the most transparent administration, an administration that has recently been behind unprecedented intelligence and national security leaks, Obama’s certainly trying awful hard to hide the facts of this case.
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